Sweetness and Lightning by Gido Amagakure

28459313Title: Sweetness and Lightning

Author: Gido Amagakure

Published: January 6th, 2016

Rating: 3/5 stars

Goodreads

Having lost his wife, math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is doing his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking and doesn’t have a huge appetite to begin with, but chance brings his little family and one of his students, Kotori Iida, together for homemade adventures. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.

Review

I’m very new to reading manga, especially manga that doesn’t involve magic, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this. I picked it up because I have heard things about the series as both an anime and in book form, but unfortunately it didn’t particularly draw me in.

So far, having only read the first volume, this series isn’t a plot driven one. Instead it has an intense focus on the relationship of the three main characters, Tsumugi, her father Kouhei Inuzuka and his student Kotori Iida. They are all fairly strong characters with distinct and interesting personalities, but in my case their relationship alone was not enough to completely hold my interest even along with the experiences with cooking that they shared.

Tsumugi is cute, sweet, and has other traits typically found in little girl characters. However, she has a bit more depth than I was expecting because she is still processing the loss of her mother. Kouhei Inuzuka, the girl’s father, who is also still struggling to deal with her mother’s death mostly focuses on doing what is best for his daughter as best as he knows how. This is the part of the reason that the characters fall into cooking together in the first place, because he wants her to be able to eat good food. Their relationship is very realistic as well as cute, Tsumugi is not always perfect and he is a good father to her even when she struggles. For this alone, I may continue reading the series. However, I was not as fond of the third character Kotori. She is also a realistic character, dealing with several struggles but she felt much less unique and next to the father daughter relationship I found myself much less interested in her story.

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The author also included recipes at the end of each chapter corresponding with the things the characters cooked which I found to be a very cute and interesting touch. If not for the relationship between the father and daughter, I may have considered reading more of the series just to see how the story lined up with the recipes. With that being said, it’s definitely not one of my favorite books even if the characters are very endearing.

 

Do you read manga? What did you think of this book or others like it?

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5 Great Webcomics

I don’t know how many of you read webcomics, but I completely adore them! Once you’re caught up on a series the new pages don’t take long to read so they’re great if you’re waiting for class to start or commuting somewhere. I love the illustrations too! Please note that none of these are finished yet. 

1. Spectra Spell by Lisa Harald

This is a very new comic so I can’t say much about it at this point, but I already love it. However one of the main characters is autistic and the other is a transgirl so I’m excited if only for that. There’s also quite a few strange things happening, including magic weird weather and strange creatures. The art is also very cute and professional in appearance. I hope that some of you try this one because I’d love to hear what you think of it!!! I love the others on the list as well of course but this one has quite a bit more diversity than the others which gives it an extra boost!

You can read it here

2. Rise From the Ashes by Madeleine Rosca

Winter is a ghost with an intense devotion to the house she haunts. Her house becomes damaged and she falls under the control of an organization called the Red Crows who control and use ghosts. She’s an interesting character with no real desire to help or stay with the Crows, just wanting to return to her house. There is also some mystery surrounding her past and what kind of person she was when she was alive, which I am very excited to find out!

Updates on Wednesdays

Read it on Webtoons

3. The Bane of the East by Martlas/jesterland

This one’s about witches and magic, which for me was an immediate draw. The main character, Belladona, is the daughter of a witch that was widely hated by everyone who struggles to perform magic herself.

This one doesn’t have as well defined of an update schedule as Rise From the Ashes but I still love it.

Read it on Webtoons

4. Monster Pulse by Magnolia Porter

Monster Pulse has lots of interesting characters. The main two are Bina and Julie, two kids who have one of their body parts transformed into a monster that continues working as the original body part did and protects them from harm. They become endangered by a shady organization that caused the monsters in the first place and do their best to keep their monsters secret and themselves safe from the organization, along with several other characters. It’s a very cute story and I enjoy the relationships that the monsters have with their humans and each other. I’m not caught up with it at the moment but if you’re interested there’s quite a bit to read (It was started in May of 2011 and most recently updated this Jan 18, 2018). The art and anatomy also evolves and gets better as the story progresses and I looking back at the beginning and seeing how it has improved.

Find it here

5. The Pigeon Gazette by Pigeoneer Jane

Unlike the other comics I’ve mentioned, this one is not story based so it’s very easy to read quickly. The author is very funny and all of the different panels are very unique and entertaining.

Read it on Tapas

 

Also check out Sarah’s Scribbles. It’s not one of the 5 because I think it’s quite a bit more well known than the others (at this point it’s won Goodreads Choice awards twice) with and you can also purchase it in print form.

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I’m Back! Also Brief Book Recommendations for Younger Readers

I’ve been inactive for quite a while longer than I ever intended! Partially because I started college a while back and got busy with classes and such. I’m determined to change that, so I’ll be posting once again very soon. Nice to see you all again! In the meantime here are a few books that I really enjoyed when I was younger. Since I’m quite a bit older than I was when I read most of these, I find it very interesting to consider how my taste in books has evolved and stayed the same.

 

1195044Title: Swordbird

Author: Nancy Yi Fan

Published: February 1st, 2007

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads 

The blue jays and cardinals of Stone-Run Forest have turned against each other. According to legend, only Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, has the power to conquer evil and restore peace to the land. But is he real or just a myth? Can Swordbird arrive in time to save the forest . . . or will it be too late?

Twelve-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan has woven a captivating tale about the birds of Stone-Run Forest and the heroism, courage, and resourcefulness in their quest for peace.

Why I liked it:

I can’t say that I remember everything about this book, but I do remember that it really inspired me. The author was only 12 when she wrote it so it made me feel encouraged to also continue writing. I think that all young writers should consider checking it out, especially if they like birds and adventure. Beyond that I loved the interactions of the birds and their quest all felt very engaging, and they were written with an undeniable passion. I can’t say for sure that I would love it as much now, but I think back on it fondly and plan to read it again at some point.

 

769483Title: Magyk

Author: Angie Sage

Published: May 11th, 2005

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads 

The first part of an enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells. Ages 9+.

The 7th son of the 7th son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son, Septimus?

The first part of this enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells, and a yearning to uncover the mystery at the heart of this story…who is Septimus Heap?

Angie Sage writes in the tradition of great British storytellers. Her inventive fantasy is filled with humor and heart: Magyk will have readers laughing and begging for more.

Why I liked it:

I loved the magic in this and I loved Septimus. The development of the plot and the characters kept a firm hold on me during the few years that it took me to read up to Syren (book 5 of 7) which is where I stopped. Even now I am still interested to see what will happen to the characters in the last two books, so this is another series that I will probably pick up again eventually paying no mind to its status as a middle grade book.

 

159069Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L’engle

Published: 1962

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads 

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Why I liked it:

I’m sure that most people have heard of this one because its going to be a movie soon, but I already love it in its original form, though I do plan to watch it and it looks much much better than the 2003 adaptation (IMBD). The characters in this book are all quite wonderful. Meg is a likeable protagonist and her interactions with her love interest are very sweet and innocent. I really rooted for them to get together. Meg’s love for her younger brother Charles Wallace was also very sweet, and I adored their relationship even more than Meg and Calvin’s, which is saying a lot because I find that sibling relationships can easily seem forced or overdone, if their relationship is healthy at all. Aside from the relationships of the main characters I also loved the world building and the twists at the end. This is a middle grade book that adults and middle grade readers can both enjoy.

 

 

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

 Title: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures 

Authors: Jackson  Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater (also the illustrator)

Published: April 28th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.
Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.

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